San Jose plans 'robocar' network instead of airport shuttle

April 21, 2023
The city’s exploration of personal rapid transit is a rejection of both traditional trains and the vision of autonomous vehicles traveling on conventional roads, Brad Stone reports for Bloomberg.

SAN JOSE, Calif., - On April 18, the central Silicon Valley city of San Jose, California, made a surprising choice: It granted initial authorization for a plan to develop a network of autonomous cars that will need their own dedicated roads, Brad Stone reports for Bloomberg.

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The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

21 April 2023 - The autonomous ground vehicle from Glydways can carry up to four passengers on a designated route between the Diridon rail station and the San Jose Mineta International Airport at a speed up to 31 miles per hour. The shuttle run would take around eight minutes. Currently, there is no direct public transportation from the station to the airport. The Mercury News of San Jose reports that project could get underway by 2028, and would utilize around 200 of the autonomous vehicles with plans to potentially add shuttles from nearby parking lots. The initial price tag comes in around $500 million.

“I have plenty of questions about the economic case for the project, but that’s why we study things,” wrote Mayor Matt Mahan in a text message after the council’s vote. “What I reject is the notion that we shouldn’t explore new solutions because they might disrupt the existing transit system. Our job is to find the solutions that work best for the community.”

While the $500 million investment is not inexpensive, Brian Stanke, who is overseeing the project says traditional solutions would cost much more. At neighboring San Francisco International, a driverless tramway could cost about $800 million per mile, while Los Angeles has a tramway project in the works that will cost the city $2 billion for 2.2. miles.

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Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Military + Aerospace Electronics

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